Britain's Relationship with the European Union in 2013

Topics: European Union, European Economic Area, United Kingdom Pages: 6 (1786 words) Published: December 8, 2013

Britain’s relationship with the European Union in 2013

Syed Shabab Uddin
Executive summary

Britain’s long-standing relationship with the European Union has recently come under a lot of media spotlight. The issue? Whether or not Britain should remain part of one of most advanced and intricate examples of regional economic union.

January 23rd saw David Cameron give a speech at the London headquarters of Bloomberg discussing Britain’s relationship and his administration’s stance on the European Union. He discusses the idea that a referendum is required to offer a final answer to the ‘in-out’ debate that has surrounded Britain and the EU. Cameron also goes on to say that Britain must be a part of a reformed EU rather than leave and be on the outskirts.

This kind of discussion will prompt big businesses to rethink their strategy and this was the case as Carlos Ghosn, Nissan chief executive, said that Nissan would have to reconsider their position in Britain if they were to exit the EU. It comes as no surprise as having access to the single market is one of the biggest reasons to set up operations anywhere in the EU.

This report discusses Cameron’s speech and looks at Ghosn’s comments and takes you through several key concepts and ideas surrounding Britain’s relationship with the EU.

Summary and critique

Cameron speech at Bloomberg headquarters

On Wednesday 23rd January, David Cameron delivered a speech on his opinion of the UK’s relationship with Europe, assuring a referendum on the country’s EU membership given that the conservative party win the next election. In a surprisingly more pro-European speech than expected, Cameron argued that there are strong reasons to support a renegotiation of the UK’s position inside the EU and that a referendum on this new deal could help get British people feel more involved with Europe.

Such a referendum, despite its good intentions, would need to be planned well to ensure success. By getting as many of the electorate as possible to get involved and vote would be the biggest challenge but by clearly explaining the options they have it could result in a resounding success for Cameron both within and among his electorate and Europe as well as his backbenchers.

Cameron emphasizes Britain’s need to remain a single entity without compromising their involvement, economically speaking, in the EU. He stresses that Britain must remain a European power but does point out that the EU must become less centralized and more intergovernmental.

Many made an initial accusation of ‘cherry picking’ and it does make sense. Cameron has clearly called for abandonment of the ‘ever closer union’ clause that is in the preamble to the Treaty of Rome yet maintains that the economic relationships built through the EU should remain, develop and strengthen. At most this a basic case of picking and choosing on the part of Cameron, but criticisms are warranted as two French cabinet ministers aptly accused Cameron of treating Europe like an “a la carte” menu .

Carlos Ghosn comments

Nissan chief executive, Carlos Ghosn, has contributed to the same conversation in his own way. Expressing that Nissan would have to reconsider its investment in the UK if they were to separate from the EU, Ghosn alludes to an ultimatum for Cameron and all concerned. Their plant in Sunderland employs 6,500 workers and is a key part of Nissan’s infrastructure in Europe, “Sunderland is a European plant, based in the UK” .

His general tone in the interview from which this article has been formed does see this option as one that isn’t the most probable, but it highlights the difficulty in the decision that has to be made by the UK. Cameron is no fool and knows that such considerations have to be made but this article highlights the ability that companies within the UK have in affecting the decision making process.

Nissan are clearly aware of the implications of...

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